City council passes bylaw to significantly reduce waste
The City of Edmonton is taking action to decrease the use of single-use items, which will help reduce the amount of waste being littered and ending up in landfills.
“This is an exciting first step towards climate resiliency. We’re beginning to change our course,” said Mayor Amarjeet Sohi. “We all have a part to play in preserving and protecting our environment, and participating in single-use item reduction is an easy way for all Edmontonians to commit to sustainability. I am supportive of this bylaw and know that together, we can build a greener and more climate-resilient future for all of us.”
On October 4, Council approved the Single-use Item Reduction Bylaw, which will go into effect on July 1, 2023. The bylaw aims to reduce waste by targeting items that can easily be avoided or replaced with reusable options, and by making those reusable options more accessible.
Edmontonians will see the following changes:
Single-use plastic shopping bags will be banned, and businesses must charge at least 15 cents for a paper bag and at least $1 for a new reusable shopping bag.
These minimum fees will increase on July 1, 2024 to 25 cents for a paper bag and $2 for a new reusable bag.
Styrofoam (foam) plates, cups and containers will be banned.
Restaurants must serve dine-in drink orders in reusable cups, and accept reusable customer cups for dine-in and takeout orders.
Accessories (like utensils, straws, pre-packaged condiments and napkins) will only be available by request or self-serve.
Approximately 450 million single-use items are thrown in the garbage each year in Edmonton, plus more that are recycled and littered. Through these measures, the City aims to reduce the number of regulated single-use items used in Edmonton by 20 per cent by 2027.
“Our goal is to reduce single-use items overall, not just to switch from plastic items to non-plastic items,” said Denis Jubinville, Branch Manager of Waste Services. “In addition to diverting more waste from landfill, this bylaw will also help residents think more broadly about waste reduction.
“Something as simple as bringing a reusable cup to a coffee shop may feel like a small step, but when a city of a million residents commits to small behaviour changes, the impact can be significant.”
The City will ensure businesses are well informed and supported through awareness campaigns and various resources, including plain-language guidelines for implementing the changes and customer communication tools.
The bylaw exempts registered charitable organizations, to ensure they’re able to maintain their focus on providing critical social services. Some types of businesses are also currently exempt from portions of the bylaw for safety or feasibility reasons.
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